The Christmas countdown continues, and it’s time to check those lists twice to see if you’ve forgotten anybody. I’m betting that more than a few lists include names such as Shadow or Bella, and I’m also betting they’re not your cousins; they’re your pets.
Over the years, my pups have gotten some really nice gifts on “Fleas Navidad.” We also hang their houndstooth stockings, which have to go on the entertainment center because we have no fireplace.
One year their auntie got them really nice bandannas with paw prints on them -- a pink one for Reba and a blue one for Jethro the hound. But trust me, Reba the redhead looks better in the blue one and now that Jethro is gone, she’s wearing it. And Ella looks awesome in pink with her sleek, black coat.
Another year they got seasonal sweaters, which they outgrew, and which now fit Miss Ella. See how it all works out?
So if you’re thinking about what to get your pets this year, I have a couple of suggestions.
n How about a name tag? These are not only stylish, they can be lifesavers.
If your pet gets lost and she’s found by a Good Samaritan, she can be brought home. Once, we found a little dog near our house, and quickly found out she lived only two blocks away. She was home almost before her family had time to miss her.
You can order name tags online or check at your favorite pet-supply store to see if they have one of those machines where you can make one in minutes. They don’t cost very much and they will pay for themselves a hundred times over the first time someone finds your wayward pet and brings her home.
n Microchips are another potentially life-saving gift, so if your pet doesn’t have one already, it’s something to put on your list. If the very idea is a little too Orwellian for you, consider this: The chip is about the size of a grain of rice and the injection is no worse than getting a rabies shot. Check with your vet, or call one of the local shelters, which offer specials on a regular basis.
n Harnesses are also great to have. I started using them for two reasons: Jethro the hound did not have it in his DNA to walk nicely on a leash. He would pull cough, pull, cough and pull some more.
The harness put an end to that, and I felt better about putting him on a short leash and pulling him toward me when it was necessary.
For pet lovers
If you don’t have pets but are friends or family of pet lovers, you can still “paws for the holidays.”
Here are a couple of ideas for the pet lovers on your list:
n If your favorite pet family can’t afford much more than food and vet visits, consider getting them a gift card to one of the pet-supply stores so they can splurge on a name tag, a harness or an interactive toy.
n Check with their veterinarian to see if you can get a gift certificate for services such as nail trimming or necessities such as flea remedies. You could also get a gift certificate to a groomer for a nice bath and a haircut.
n Depending on their religious persuasion, St. Francis might be very welcome in their home or yard.
My dogs wear really nice St. Francis medals made especially for pets (the ones sold in religious article shops are too lightweight for active dogs). You can find these online or in a good pet-supply store.
St. Francis also keeps watch over our back yard from his nook at the base of an oak tree.
He’s standing on a base that doubles as a water dish and he’s holding a basket that’s perfect for bird seed.
I’ve also seen St. Francis birdbaths that would do double duty for all the animals that hang out in your yard.
Here’s hoping you and your pets have a wonderful Christmas, and that Santa is good to all of you.
M.K. Means, Herald copy editor, can be reached at 941-745-7054.